This week I proudly became an American citizen. They told me at my oath ceremony that it is my right to pursue happiness and that is what I plan to do. Up until now I haven’t talked much about the fact that I am an immigrant. I’ve lived in the US for twelve years and while I may have only moved across the Canadian border it has been a major shift in my world.
When I first moved here George Bush was president and performing shock and awe in the middle east. Moving to a place where you see a military presence everywhere including overhead from a place where you rarely see military is a really crazy feeling. Mildly unnerving at first, but you do somewhat get used to it. Same with the number of guns that people have either in their house or on them at all times, they take the right to bear arms very seriously here and that was a major culture shock for a Canadian farm girl that had never held a gun until she moved to America.
Moving from a country that provides health care to everybody to a country where people regularly go bankrupt and lose everything because they get sick and cannot afford the costs of their medical bills- that makes me uncomfortable on every level. I don’t dare get sick here even if I have insurance and am certainly proactive in making healthy choices to prevent anything worse than the chronic conditions I already have that they can’t cure.
I started reading food labels here and noticed that the ingredient lists are different. There seems to be a lot more ingredients and additives in the food. Since moving here I either become acutely aware of or actually developed sensitivities to gluten and dairy. I don’t dare eat things with gluten and dairy anymore. On the bonus side, food is way less expensive than in Canada.
Obesity is a real thing here. One of my first times going to a county fair, I experienced my own kind of shock and awe witnessing the excessive amount and size of the food they were serving and the size of the people eating that food. Before moving here I had been working in a health bubble of sorts as the Fitness Manager of two women’s only clubs in Vancouver, BC personal training, teaching classes, and running boot camps on the beaches. Seeing such blatant obesity and obvious imbalance was a major culture shock to me. I adjusted by personal training outdoors, out of my garage studio, and improving my home cooking skills to avoid the ridiculous portions of low quality or low nutrient food served everywhere.
What is next for me now that I am a citizen of the country I’m living in? Why not start with free speech? I have a lot to say and this blog is one of the ways that I plan to practice that right. I want to spread wellness, self-health awareness, and positivity on a much larger scale.
I want to share the holistic options available to other people like myself who are seeking natural ways to manage long term health issues. One of these options that I have been using for my chronic pain, muscle spasms, and migraines is medical cannabis. Instead of taking multiple pharmaceutical pills I have one non-toxic medicine I have a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, sleep aid, anti-anxiety and antidepressant. One unique way that I use this plant is eating it like a vegetable. I juice the fresh leaves or put them in my smoothies. I can’t wait to share this stuff with you!
I also am a huge fan of hemp. When I was learning about the nutritional and medicinal benefits of cannabis leaves I learned about eating hemp that doesn’t contain THC. This plant has the perfect ratio of omega 3, 6, and 9 for the human body. Plus it provides easily digestible protein and fiber. I have a lot of healthy recipes and ideas to share with you. You may have already noticed that every recipe I post has hemp in it, that is intentional. Check out this Blueberry Hemp Cake
I am a healthy food advocate. I started volunteering for a local food organization that feeds those in need with the less perfect but perfectly edible food that doesn’t end up in the grocery stores. They have a number of programs that help feed hungry children in the community, and that is really important to me. I would love to make it possible for every child in this country to have access to healthy food even if their parents cannot provide. That is my American dream.
Oh, and one more thing. When I told people that I had applied for my citizenship most of them asked me why. The simple answer…President Donald Trump. Not being able to vote in the last election really bothered me and I vowed to be a voter in the next one. I feel connected to this country and although it is certainly not perfect, its optimistic ideals move me.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me.